Oregon Solar News

​OSEIA 2017 Board of Director Candidates

There are 11 people who have declared their desire to run for the board and whose eligibility has been confirmed for the upcoming 2017 board election. Incumbent board members running for re-election are designated by an (i).

  • Nick Armstrong - SolarCity (i)
  • Kaitlin Borstelmann - CED Greentech (i)
  • Jason Carr - Cypress Creek Renewables
  • Casey Dilloway - A&R Solar
  • Eric Hansen - TrueSouth Solar (i)
  • Zach Kissel - Auric Solar
  • Suzanne Leta Liou - Sunpower
  • Evan Ramsey - Bonneville Environmental Foundation
  • James Reismiller - Abundant Solar
  • Jerry Samaniego - Solar Energy Design
  • Sarah Wilder - SolarWorld

Voting will be at the OSEIA Member Meeting on February 24. Anyone who is not able to attend on Feb. 24 should contact Jeff Bissonnette at jeff [at] oseia.org to get and submit an early ballot. Click Read More below for candidate bios.

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My Solar Story - Jeff Bissonnette

I have a book on my office bookshelf called the “Alternative Energy Sourcebook 1991.” It’s a catalog of sorts from the Real Goods Trading Corporation that offers solar modules and any number of micro-hydro and other renewable systems. So I’ve had a long-standing interest in solar and renewable energy.

I keep it around to remind myself how far we’ve come in terms of the technology and the capacity to serve as a real energy resource. I didn’t get a chance to actually work on renewable energy until I came back to Oregon in 1998 to work for the Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon (CUB). CUB represents residential ratepayers and while most consumer advocates are just focused on energy as a pocketbook issue, CUB also looks at energy from the perspective of Oregonians’ values. Oregonians care where their energy comes from, they want to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy, they want clean up our energy grid.

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Jeff's First Anniversary

It’s Been a Year Already?

February 1, 2016 was a busy day for me. It was my first day working for OSEIA, I had a board meeting, it was the first day of the 2016 legislative session and for the first time in over 17 years, I was the new guy.

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Oregon Solar Review - January 2017

Click here to read January 2017 Oregon Solar Review

Thriving Company Culture through the Eyes of an Office Manager

This article is part of an ongoing series of interviews for my exclusive column on Thriving Culture. The intention of this series is to give you, as a reader, a sense of where and how culture is thriving in the solar industry, and how you might begin to strengthen company culture in your own company or place of business. I conducted this interview with Kelli Wolford, Office Manager at Synchro Solar, which currently employs 10 solar team members with 2 solar install teams.

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Oregon's utility-scale solar incentive brings flood of projects

Projects totaling 291 megawatts have applied for the state’s new Solar Development Incentive Program — but only 150 megawatts will get in.

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Real Rapid Shutdown for Rooftop Solar

Why homeowners need technology that delivers more than code compliance

by Tefford Reed -- Every three years brings a revision to the National Electrical Code, a benchmark for electrical safety in the US. One by one, the states interpret those changes to help local permitting authorities decide whether a rooftop solar project meets safety standards. Technology designed to code is likely to require costly and time-consuming upgrades as code changes. A modular, low-voltage technology, like the Enphase Microinverter System, inherently satisfies code requirements year after year.

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My Solar Story - Shaun Franks

My solar story started at Southern Oregon University (SOU) in 2010. I went back to school because I had recently become a father and wanted to set a good example for my son. I was a business major but began taking environmental studies classes. The classes focused on environmental problems, which are daunting, but I wanted to come up solutions. I decided to minor in environmental studies, focusing when possible on courses in corporate sustainability. The Summer of 2011, I had the opportunity to study renewable energy in Germany. Although the course was less than a month long, the impacts had a lasting effect on my education and engagement on campus.

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A Message From Abby Hopper, President & CEO of SEIA

My name is Abigail Ross Hopper, and if you haven't heard, I just officially started as SEIA's new President & CEO. It's only been a few days, but I am already so excited to be a part of such a great organization and an incredible industry.

To better introduce myself, I recorded a short video. Take a look:

Sign up to push solar in 2017!

With a $1.5 billion state budget shortfall, and solar incentives to protect, we'll need all the help we can in the Oregon legislature this year. The session starts in less than two weeks! If you’ve been wondering, “how can I help grow solar in Oregon?”, then please volunteer for the following:

1.Mark your calendars for Solar Lobby Day in Oregon's Capitol, Monday, April 17th. Join us for a day in Oregon’s capitol. No experience is necessary and we need every member of Oregon’s solar community to join us if they can.

2.Join OSEIA's Online Solar Rapid Response Team. We'll need at least 100 solar pros and supporters to spend less than five minutes weekly responding to our calls for help from the legislature. Can you send an email or "like" a facebook page? Then we need YOU for our Solar Army.

We’ve currently less than a dozen volunteers out of 100+ we’ll need for each. So please sign up now.

Oregon SolarPAC's First Year a Big Success

Thanks to generous contributions from OSEIA members and solar supporters, Oregon SolarPAC raised $9,845 ahead of the 2017 election--and spent nearly all of it exactly as we'd planned: in support of key candidates for the Oregon State Legislature.

We held meetings and made campaign contributions to Oregon's Governor, Kate Brown and 14 legislative candidates, all of whom won their 2017 elections and are now serving in Salem. Several OSEIA members joined in our candidate meetings, where we discussed issues crucial to Oregon's solar industry: Renewing the Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC), creating a RETC for community solar, preserving the solar property tax exemption, and ensuring the Oregon's new large scale solar incentive will work as planned.

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Congrats to an Exemplary Member, North Coast Electric

OSEIA wanted to take a minute to thank North Coast Electric for their tremendous leadership and support for Oregon’s Solar Industry. Over the past few years we have seen the industry grow and with it North Coast Electric’s participation is outstanding.

The OSEIA members spoke for the industry in February 2016 through electing Kendra to yet another term as a board member. Additionally, the OSEIA Board of Directors made it clear who they wanted to lead us by voting in Kendra as our Vice President!

OSEIA’s technical training program is a huge part of our mission to support the solar industry, not only in Oregon but throughout the Pacific Northwest. North Coast Electric’s participation in hosting these trainings throughout locations in Oregon and Washington has been invaluable to us; we are excited to expand and continue this relationship in 2017.

The Oregon Solar Energy Conference is OSEIA’s biggest fundraising, training and networking event. We have grown from 171 attendees in 2014 to over 400 attendees in 2016. North Coast Electric’s support at the Presenting Sponsor level in 2016 was another testament to your commitment to our success.

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Oregon Solar Review - December 2016

Click here to read December 2016 Oregon Solar Review

How Oregon Became Top 10 US Solar State

From PBJ - In Oregon, developers installed 84 megawatts of solar in Oregon from July through September 2016, sending the state from 25th to ninth in the nation, according to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association.

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Solar Financing - Generations Credit Union

Hello, Oregon Solar Installers!

My name’s Bill Paulen, and I am the President and CEO of Generations Credit Union, based in Olympia, Washington. It’s my pleasure to introduce myself and our financial institution to you today. For some of you, this will be a re-introduction, as we met at the ASES SOLAR 2016/Intersolar North America conference this year in San Francisco - easily my favorite conference and trade show of the last several years. Way more fun wandering through 3 stories of cutting edge solar equipment and attending solar presentations than sitting through days of financial institution regulatory compliance talk. So for all of you whom I met a few months ago, nice to “talk” to you again. For everyone else: here’s what Generations is all about…

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Solar Financing - Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union (PSCCU)

At Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union (PSCCU), our members are not only part owners of this financial cooperative, but they also play a role in environmental sustainability, financial security for others, and job creation. We empower our members to do more than they thought they could with their banking relationship.

We have a great respect and commitment for our combined social, economic and environmental convictions and have built, and will continue to build our financial cooperative around these ideals.

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My Solar Story - Brion Wickstrom

I started my solar career in 2004 at Mr. Sun Solar. I had been interested in solar for a long time and was intrigued by the energy independence it had to offer.

I was working random jobs while pursuing the inside electrical apprenticeship program. On the way to my job at the time, as a mover, I drove by Mr. Sun’s office every day. One day without thinking about it I turned my head in the direction of the Mr Sun office and not even sure what Mr. Sun meant, I decided to stop the van and go inside.

I ended up starting my first day of work with Mr. Sun about two weeks later. I showed up for my first day at what was known as the “old shop”, I think it’s now the old old old shop. I was excited to work my first day in solar! I spent the next six months of my solar career replacing a sidewalk, remodeling a bathroom at an apartment connected to the shop and fixing up John’s (Mr. Sun’s owner) house.

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OSEIA Membership Dues

At the December 9th board meeting the OSEIA board approved dues for 2017.

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Apply Now to Business Oregon

Business Oregon logo

We are pleased to announce that applications for Business Oregon’s Solar Development Incentive (SDI) program are now open. Please visit the program web page for more information about how to apply and direct links to the online application. We highly recommend that you review the SDI Handbook that includes program details and an example of program application.

The application will be open until January 2, 2017, 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time.

Start An Application Today

About SDI
The SDI program is a new clean technology program that encourages the development of solar energy projects in Oregon by providing a cash incentive per kWh generated to owners of photovoltaic (PV) energy systems with a nameplate capacity of between two and 10 megawatts (MW) and that anticipate producing electricity within 12 months of applying for the incentive. Qualified projects enrolled in the program can receive a monthly payment of $0.005 per kWh of electricity generated, for a period of five years.

Oregon Solar Review - November 2016

Click here to read November 2016 Oregon Solar Review.

A Letter from the Executive Director

2016 started out with a bang with the Oregon legislature approving an expanded Renewable Energy Standard for Portland General Electric and Pacific Power. It also created the policy framework for community solar and passed an incentive for large-scale solar projects ranging from 2MW to 10MW. Much of the remainder of the year has been taken up by the mechanics of moving policy to real-life implementation. Much of that work will continue into 2017.

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Thriving Company Culture Through the Eyes of a Project Manager

This article is part of an ongoing series of interviews for my exclusive column on Thriving Culture. The intention of this series is to give you, as a reader, a sense of where and how culture is thriving in the solar industry, and how you might begin to strengthen company culture in your own company or place of business. I conducted this interview with Katie Martin, Project Manager at Imagine Energy, which currently employs ~15 solar team members with 2 solar install teams. As you’ll likely glean from this interview, Katie, and the leadership at Imagine, clearly have a deep understanding of the deep importance of company culture matters and the direct impact that it has on performance.

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Effective Grounding for PV Inverters: What You Need to Know

While only a handful of utilities nationwide currently require effective grounding for three- phase commercial photovoltaic (PV) installations, that number is growing. As more PV projects come online, more utilities (ie. NGRID, HECO, XCEL, PEPCO, BGE, etc.) are looking for methods to mitigate temporary overvoltage (TOV) from PV inverters. Yaskawa – Solectria Solar is an expert on this topic since we have worked with the first utilities to help customers size their grounding banks. We’ve created an Effective Grounding Design Tool to help calculate the impedance of grounding devices, but more on that later.

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My Solar Story - Cameron Yourkowski

Major energy crises seem to follow me wherever I go. When I was one and a half years old we lived just 30 miles from the Three Mile Island nuclear plant when it began to melt down. My mom still says my first full sentence was “no more nukes!” Although I was a tad young at the time to fully absorb all of the policy implications of the Three Mile Island disaster, it must have somehow been the beginning of my solar story.

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Lighting the Way with the Oregon Solar Business Plan

Brian David Johnson has an interesting job: he’s a futurist at Arizona State University. His job is not to predict the future; it’s to help organizations and people imagine the possibilities about the future. Recently, he was quoted by the radio show Marketplace, “the way that you change the future is you change the story that people tell themselves about the future that they will live in…If you can change that story, people will actually make different decisions.”

To help tell a story about the future of solar in Oregon, OSEIA has undertaken an Oregon Solar Business Plan...

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2017 OSEIA Solar Policy Agenda

Top Tier

Extend the RETC; apply RETC to community solar

Extend property tax exemption for solar

Pursue changes as needed to large-scale solar incentive (HB 4037 – 2016)

Second Tier

Create a commercial solar incentive

Incentives to install solar on multi-family housing

Bring PACE (Property-Assessed Clean Energy) financing to Oregon to tie the cost of solar installation to a building's property tax

Potential Support Items (OSEIA helping but not in the lead)

Modify the mission of the Oregon Public Utility Commission to allow consideration of environmental and climate impacts

Change building codes to increase energy efficiency and solar readiness in all new residential and commercial construction

Clarify small-scale renewables mandate within SB 1547 (2016)

Support funding for Oregon Renewable Energy Center at Oregon Institute of Technology

Modify 1.5% for Solar to create more opportunities for solar and perhaps align with community solar


Ensure community solar gets a strong start (PUC)

Account for all solar costs and benefits/Resource Value of Solar (PUC)

OSEIA Adopts Its 2017 Solar Policy Agenda

Back in May 2016, OSEIA kicked off a six-month process where solar industry folks contributed policy ideas and then ranked them. About two dozen specific ideas ended up being thrown into the mix and the ranking reflected the top priorities for the industry.

It’s important to note that the Oregon legislature is going to be dealing with thorny budget issues. Unfortunately, our top priorities involve money. That just means we will have to present a very good case to legislators. And we have a good case to make. Here are our top tier legislative issues...

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A Note from the Executive Director

As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, we at OSEIA have a lot to be thankful for. At the top of the list (and any list we make) is our members. You make OSEIA’s work possible and we work to make sure that our industry stays strong and vibrant.

There’s a lot going on at your solar trade association these days. First and foremost, we are hard at work developing an Oregon Solar Business Plan, a 10-year pathway for growing solar in Oregon. Again, we are so thankful to OSEIA members and supporters who are making that project possible.

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EmPOWERing Education with Solar Energy

Volunteers from across Oregon’s PV industry—Elemental Energy, HDR Engineering, Imagine Energy, IronRidge, Portland State University, and SunPower—recently returned home from Cambodia after volunteering their expertise to install a 26kW off-grid PV system on the Stephen Mazujian Middle School. This project is a part of a global electrification initiative led by local non-profit Twende Solar to empower energy-deficient communities with renewable energy systems. Calling on the solar industry to unite behind this mission and lend their collective skillsets and resources, volunteers are rewarded with the experience of commissioning an off-grid PV system in an international setting, alongside the community. Let’s go solar, together!

Cambodia has one of the lowest electrification rates in SE Asia with an estimated 6.9 million people living without access to electricity. Despite these stark statistics, Cambodia has an impressive sun resource—reports estimate the nation could average 8,100 megawatts of peak generation, yielding roughly 12,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity per year. In a country where nearly 85% of its population lives in rural areas, a decentralized source of power like solar PV is the perfect solution to providing electricity to all communities.

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DEADLINE EXTENDED: Oregon Solar Soft Cost Survey

Energy Trust, in collaboration with Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has developed this survey to clarify what contributes to the cost of solar installations in Oregon. Survey questions ask about your Oregon solar installations and their associated costs in Q1 and Q2 of 2016 and the survey results will be compared to benchmark values from the 2014 Oregon installer survey. This worksheet provides the survey questions so you can collect any necessary information before beginning.

In order for your company to be counted, we have extended the completion deadline to Wednesday, November 30th. The survey should take 30-45 minutes to complete. Follow the link to begin the survey now: https://hbb.qualtrics.com/jfe1/form/SV_aW7aiZ1S8BsgryJ

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Ready to advance your career in Oregon’s solar industry?
Ready to advance your career in Oregon’s solar industry?

Support the Oregon SolarPAC!!!

OSEIA has started a political action committee to increase our voice and influence with our decision makers in Salem. Your donation to the Oregon SolarPAC helps expand OSEIA’s capacity to develop a marketplace for the widespread adoption of solar energy in Oregon. More information>